Born and brought in a farmer family and spending his early years up to matriculation studies in his native village Saryu Roy is well acquainted with the ecstasies and agonies of farm practices. As he used to assist his parents in farming specially in sowing and harvesting seasons he has naturally acquired experience and based knowledge of practical problems of a farmer farm labourers and village community. In the capacity of the General Secretary of the erstwhile Janata Party in Bihar he raised the issues concerned with farmers and prevalent agricultural practices on priority basis. He also formed a farmer’s organization to give impetus to his efforts.
The River Sone is also an interstate river and also a masculine river. Generally the rivers are of feminine gender barring three exceptions of the Sone, the Damodar and the Brahmaputra in India. The river Sone emerges from the Amarkantak Plateau in Madhya Pradesh and after covering a distance of 510 kms. in Madhya Pradesh & Chhatisgarh, 82 kms in Uttar Pradesh and 233 kms. in Bihar & Jharkhand merges into holy Ganga near Maner about 35 kms south of Patna. One of the oldest canals system of the country took shape in Bihar during British regime in the lower reaches of river Sone. It now irrigates a gross area of about 22.50 acres. The canal system was envisaged by one Mr Dickens. a Junior Engineer of British army in 1853. The work started in 1967 and canals were commissioned in 1874 for irrigation and navigation. A team of American experts lead by Herbert M Wilson came to study the canal system in 1892. They moved in the canals by steamer, prepared a report, submitted it to the United State Govt. and surface irrigation after this began in America.
An interstate agreement over sharing of Sone Waters was entered into among the Govts. of M.P., U.P. & Bihar on Sept. 16,1973 for mainly agriculture purposes. But now the Sone water is unlawfully diverted to industrial purpose mainly to power plants without even informing the Bihar Govt. Mr. Saryu Roy raised this matter in 1982 and warned of its adverse impact on century old Sone canal system. He also started farmers movement under the banner of "Sone Anchal Kisan Sangharsh Samiti". In 1993 he lodged a PIL in Patna High Court which was listed for hearing in 2010.The final judgment in this case was delivered on Sept. 21,2011by the division bench of Patna High Court consisting of Hon'ble Judges Mr Sudhir Kumar Katriar and Mr. A. Amanuah. The operative portion of the judgment is the Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No. 3521 of 1993 delivered on Sept. 21, 2011 is as below-
"15. In the result, this writ petition is disposed of with the direction to the Union of India to constitute a tribunal under the provisions of the inter-state water dispute Act 1956. " The Union of India shall also keep in mind the provisions of the river boards Act as well as section 79 of the Bihar Reorganisation Act and section 76(1) of the Madhya Pradesh Reorganisation Act......................
16. Before we part with the records, we must record our deep appreciation of the manner in which Mr. Saryu Roy, petitioner no. 1, conducted the proceedings before us, the ability with which he assisted us, and maintained his patience ever since the case was lodged in this court."
Sd/- (S K Katriar, J)
Sd/- (Ahsanuddin Amanuah, J)
Patna High Court, Patna
The 21st of September 2011
The adverse impact of unlawful diversion of irrigation water to the Thermal Pwer Plants established in the vicinity of the Rihand Reservoir in U.P. is now obvious on the Sone Canal system in Bihar causing severe draught in 6 districts of Bihar. Besides Super Thermal Power Plant Complex is causing acute pollution and environmental degradation in the area. Saryu Roy launched a study cum awareness yatra in august 2010 from the origin point of river Sone at Amarkantak to to its confluence with river Ganga near Patna. He has taken initiative and constituted Farmers Organisation of entire Sone River Basin under the banner of "Sone Anchal Kisan Vikas Samiti" with Mr. Sharda Mahesh Pratap Deo, an enlightened farmer of Nagar Utari village in Garhwa district of Jharkhand as its president.
The Bansagar Agreement on Sone River Waters was reached amongst the erstwhile co-basin states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on Sept. 16, 1974 in which interests of century old Sone Command Area was fully protected. But with passage of time the violation of the agreement began and share of Bihar was illegally diverted to consumptive use in thermal power plants. He warned the Govts. of Bihar about its adverse impact over livelihood of Sone Command area farmers as back as in 1982.He launched farmers movement and also filed a Public Interest Litigation in 1973 which was listed for hearing in 2010.Had he Govt. paid heed to his warning the crop damages for want of irrigation in Sone command area farmers would have been saved and Bihar share of Sone waters would have been restored.
Sone River Water Dispute
Memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister of India by Mr. Saryu Roy, General Secretary of Bihar State Janata Party
Memorandum to Irrigation Minister, Govt. of India
Memorandum to Water Resources Minister, Govt. of Bihar
Memorandum to Chief Minster, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
Memorandum to Energy Minster, Govt. of India
He worked as a member of Bihar State 2nd Irrigation Commission and chaired its subcommittee no. ! which was assigned the task to prepare a Water Policy for the erstwhile state of Bihar and also to analyze the Interstate/international Agreements on rivers flowing through Bihar. Shri Jagadanand Singh the then Minister for water resources development ,on whose initiative the commission was constituted, was its chairman. The subcommittee under his chairmanship completed the task well ahead the schedule in one and half years.
He also worked with Metaplanners and Management Consultants founded by late Basawan Sinha, a rare breed of honest, intelligent and ground to earth diligent engineer with pro people attitude and impeccable global repute. He worked on conjunctive uses of water in irrigation, environmental impact of water resources schemes, prioritization in various water uses and participatory irrigation system.
He raised voice against exploitative system of fixation of prices of different agricultural produces and struggled for consideration of the cost of household laborers and managerial efforts with it while fixing the support prices and making the crop insurance scheme farmer unit based rather than geographical area based.
Quality Inputs Farmers of Bihar suffered a lot due to supply of spurious farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. it impeded agricultural development and caused immense financial loss to the farm community .He exposed the unholy nexus behind it and played important role to successfully thwart such anti people practices.